Masterfoods testing heart-healthy chocolate
[Hackettstown, N.J.] Masterfoods USA is conducting a direct-response test of CocoaVia, a heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering candy brand with cocoa flavanols that's aimed at bringing health-conscious consumers back to chocolate. Ads appear in November issues of Rodale's Prevention, Time Inc.'s Cooking Light and Smithsonian magazines as part of a campaign that also includes direct mail and Internet marketing via Stasi & Co., New York. An introductory trial shipment of 10 Chocolate Crunch Bars and 56 Milk Chocolate Flavor Chews is priced at $10, including his and hers pedometers. Subsequent shipments, scheduled every six weeks until canceled, cost $40.
Shops in showdown for Coke media work
[Atlanta] Media agencies begin presenting this week for Coca-Cola Co.'s $350 million media-buying-and-planning review. Interpublic's Universal McCann, the incumbent for national media buying, presents Oct. 27, said executives familiar with the schedule, as does Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group. Starcom's MediaVest currently handles planning for brand Coke, Diet Coke and the Coke waters, juices and flavors groups; Starcom plans media for Minute Maid. Aegis Group's Carat and WPP Group's MindShare pitch Oct. 28. A decision is expected this week.
NBA's James set for Sprite ad debut
[Atlanta] LeBron James makes his ad debut for Coca-Cola Co.'s Sprite this week in a TV spot breaking Oct. 29 during the regular season opening game of the National Basketball Association Cleveland Cavaliers. WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, New York, handles. It is the first new work for Sprite since ads featuring NBA star Kobe Bryant went off the air in June, following Mr. Bryant's arrest on rape charges. Mr. James also is expected to appear in a new Sprite campaign in 2004. Ogilvy referred calls to Coca-Cola Co., which declined to comment.
Advance drops out of `New York' race
[New York] Advance Publications, parent of Conde Nast Publications and Fairchild Publications, is no longer interested in bidding for Primedia's New York magazine, said executives familiar with the matter. Initial bids for New York were said to be due in early November. Primedia and Advance Publications declined to comment.
Kraft briefed on results of agency pay review
[Northfield, Ill.] Consultant Beekman Associates wrapped up its closely watched agency compensation assessment for Kraft Foods North America last week following a series of presentations to Kraft managers, said executives familiar with the situation. Beekman declined to comment. Kraft did not return calls.
Used cars get ad push from GM; sales up 30%
[Detroit] General Motors Corp. is breaking national print ads for its certified used vehicle program in weekly titles this week and in December monthlies. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mullen, Wenham, Mass., handles. Lighthearted creative compares the "good decision" of buying a certified pre-owned model to bad decisions, such as a heavy man wearing a tiny bathing suit. The new campaign retains the tag "The right way. The right car." Spending was not disclosed. Sales of GM-certified vehicles through September are up 30% from a year ago.
GMA invites scrutiny of ads aimed at kids
[Washington] Grocery Manufacturers of America asked the Children's Advertising Review Unit of the National Advertising Review Council to step up monitoring of food ads directed to children and to publicize its monitoring program. Industry critics have charged marketers with promoting "high-fat" foods to children.
Fox, NBC duel for 18-49 sweeps title
[New York] Broadcast TV networks juggled prime-time lineups in preparation for the opening Oct. 30 of the November ratings sweeps. On General Electric Co.'s NBC, Thursday night's poorly performing "Coupling" at 9:30 p.m. was placed on hiatus and Friday's critically acclaimed "Boomtown" was dropped altogether. News Corp.'s Fox, battling NBC for the No. 1 spot among viewers 18-to-49, scheduled its highly promoted "The O.C." to Wednesdays at 9 p.m. On Thursdays at 9 p.m., Fox is airing "Skin," the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced show set against the background of Los Angeles' adult film industry. Viacom's CBS put "The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire" on hiatus. Walt Disney Co.'s ABC left its schedule unchanged. In "specials" for the sweeps, CBS will air "The Elizabeth Smart Story" and NBC has scheduled "Saving Jessica Lynch," both on Nov. 9.
The Securities and Exchange Commission issued subpoenas to Time Warner Chairman-CEO Richard Parsons as part of its probe into the accounting treatment of an America Online ad deal with Bertelsmann (AA, March 31), according to press reports. Former AOL Time Warner Chairman Steve Case and former CEO Gerald Levin were also said to have been subpoenaed. Time Warner had no comment on the subpoenas, first reported by The New York Times. ... Coca Cola Co. named Marc Mathieu to be VP-Coca-Cola Franchise, a new post overseeing all Coca-Cola branded products in the soft drink giant's marketing unit. Mr. Mathieu most recently was division president of the France Benelux division. ... Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN assigned advertising for the January 2004 launch of its 24-hour ESPN Deportes channel to independent Hispanic agency LatinWorks, Austin, Texas. Spending was not disclosed. ESPN Deportes has been available as a four-hour block on Sundays for the past two years. ... The National Basketball Association will target Asian-Americans for the first time with a 12-page magazine-style insert in two leading Chinese dailies, World Journal and Sing Tao Daily, that reach 70% of the Chinese-American market. WPP 's Asian-American agency Kang & Lee, New York, handles. ... Tom Hayden, 52, exec VP-general manager at Interpublic's Campbell Mithun, Chicago, said he plans to retire at year's end. Exec VP Don Kvam, based in the agency's Minneapolis headquarters, will assume responsibility for the office. ... Volvo Cars of North America consolidated spot media buying at WPP's Mediaedge:CIA, New York, already the agency for 13 of 20 Volvo dealer ad groups. Havas' Media Planning Group, New York, continues handling planning for Volvo's local media buys.